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Raritan River Music Festival celebrates 30th anniversary

Guitarists Laura Oltman and Michael Newman founded the Raritan River Music Festival with the promise of bringing live chamber music to historic venues in idyllic Hunterdon County.

Marking its 30th season, a highlight of this year’s festival is the world premier performance by the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer’s “The Book of Imaginary Beings,” commissioned by Raritan River Music. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Stanton Reformed Church, Stanton, N.J.

The four-week festival runs on Saturdays, May 4 to 25, and will include a return engagement by the Horzowski Trio on May 4. Grammy Award-winning violinist Eileen Ivers will perform “Beyond the Bog Road: A Celebration of Americana Music and its Celtic Roots,” featuring the Universal Roots Band on May 11.

The Grand Canyon Ensemble featuring Robert Bonfiglio on harmonica and flutist Clare Hoffman performing music of young Navajo composers, blues harmonica and jazz will perform May 18, and on May 25 the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo will perform the final concert of the series featuring Brouwer’s composition.

The program, “New Music of the Americas,” features Brazilian guest artists, Clarice Assad, piano and vocals, and guitarist João Luiz.

Raritan River Music (RRM) has evolved into more than the annual festival concerts in May by delivering programs year-round for young children, seniors, and patients at health-care facilities around the region.

RRM also creates a legacy of new works and recordings commissioned by RRM’s patrons, as well as presenting new music at each concert by local school-age composers. Each concert begins with music composed by elementary and high school winners of the 2019 Hunterdon County Young Composer contest.

For information and reservations, call 908-213-1100, e-mail, or visit